Big Project — Work In Progress Screen Shot
Some people have asked how I’m going on my new big project — a simplified map of all U.S. Highways and Interstates on the one map. Well, here’s where I’m at currently.
Everything in the western half of the map is pretty much finished: the east coast needs to be revisited for consistency and there’s still a whole heap of work to do in the south east. I actually feel that I’ve left the hardest bit until last… which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, in retrospect. Although I now have a really good feel for how things should work in the grand scheme of things, so it’s actually getting easier as I go. The rules have been set, now I’m just applying them, like solving a logic puzzle.
I like how, even at this scale, the main “hub” cities can be seen clearly — Denver, Minneapolis/St Paul and Chicago have been the hardest to work out so far.
Here’s a new preview of my Highways project to round out the old year. Last time, I showed an overview of most of the western United States: this time I’m zooming way in and showing a selection of smaller cities.
My decision to include all Interstate highways (even tiny spur lines) is having a very interesting effect. The small cities shown here — which on my previous Interstate and US Route maps were all rendered as a single dot at the intersection of roads — are having to be plotted with a startling degree of detail and accuracy to make the junctions between all the roads make sense.
Shown here are Boise, ID; Lincoln, NE; Duluth, MN; Sioux City, IA; Las Vegas, NV; and Salt Lake City, UT, each of which presented their own challenges. Of these, I’m most proud of Sioux City: finding a way to show the short concurrency between US-20, US-75 and the spur Interstate 129 as they cross the Missouri River to I-29 on one bridge, while also showing that US-77 splits from US-75 and crosses the river on a separate bridge to terminate in Sioux City was quite a challenge. Finding a solution that was also aesthetically pleasing and simple to understand was a bonus.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m getting myself into with this project. On my previous road maps, there were maybe five to ten “difficult” junctions like these … but there are multitudes of these small cities on this map, and we’re not even talking about complex “spaghetti junction” cities like New York, the Twin Cities, or Dallas/Fort Worth, to name a few! One at a time, that’s what I keep telling myself…
Happy Holidays from Transit Maps!
I’m signing off for the year to spend some quality time with loved ones, but I’ll see you early in 2013 with more reviews, maps, photos and my own work. I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and an awesome New Year!
I’ll leave you with a progress screen shot of my big Highways project, which shows both Interstates and numbered US Highways (all of them, even those tiny little two-mile spur Interstates!). It’s really starting to come along nicely, although there is still a lot to be done!
As you may know by now, I create my own transit maps as well as write about them. But unless you’ve been following me for a while, you may not know exactly what I’ve done, and what I currently have available for purchase this holiday season. Here’s a quick rundown:
Interstates as a Subway Map and US Highways as a Subway Map
These two posters are by far my most popular items. Because I can print in bulk with my supplier, the fantastic Wallblank Printery, the price on these is excellent for the superb quality. Each 36” x 24” poster is just $39 plus $10 shipping, or you can buy a combo pack of both posters for just $68 plus shipping — a saving of $10 over buying each poster individually.
This will be the last Christmas that I offer these posters for sale, as I have plans for something bigger and better next year (which I’ve already been dropping hints about). So, if you’ve been thinking about picking one — or both — of these posters up, do it now. You won’t get another chance. Click through to the order page on my website here.
Not all the maps I create generate as much interest as the ones above, but I still make them available for purchase through my Society6 store. As these posters are print-on-demand, the cost per unit is a little bit higher than the ones I order in bulk through Wallblank, but these are still excellent ideas for unusual gifts for the transit geek in your life.
Note: Due to the fine type and detail in many of these maps, I really, really recommend that you purchase only the LARGE or X-LARGE print sizes that Society6 offers. You will almost certainly be disappointed (and the type will be illegible) if you go smaller than that.
Amtrak Passenger Rail System
Fully updated for 2012, this map shows all of Amtrak’s passenger rail services — split into route lines and colour-coded in the style of a subway map. Big preview here on Flickr.
Boston Rapid Transit Map
My own original redesign of Boston’s transit map. Comes in two flavours: one with key bus routes and the other without (which I like better — the map looks so much cleaner without it).
European International E-Road Network
A couple of years old now, but still one of my favourite maps. Who knew Europe had an international network of routes?
Rail Transit of Portland, Oregon
My own original version of a unified rail map of my home, Portland, Oregon. Shows MAX Light Rail and the Portland Streetcar — including the new Central Loop line on the eastside.
Passenger Rail of Portland, Oregon | 1912 | 1943 | 2015
Overlays passenger rail services — light rail, streetcar, interurban and intercity trains — from three different eras for a comparison of how things have changed over time.
I’m very pleased to announce that my Interstate System as Subway Map and U.S. Highways as Subway Map posters are back on sale for the holiday season. At the moment, I’m taking pre-orders as I carefully check the maps for accuracy and the latest, up-to-date information, but I’m expecting that to be done within the next week or so, and then the posters will be on their way to you in plenty of time for Christmas.
So if you missed out on the last edition, or if you’re just after an awesome present for that transit lover in your life, click here to go to the order page. The posters are priced the same as before: $US39 plus postage for either 36” x 24” poster, or a combo pack of both posters for $US68 plus postage (a saving of $10 over buying the posters individually).
Sneak Peek: Los Angeles
This project has been ruminating in my head for a while, but I’ve finally got going. Very early days, but the look is starting to come together. How is this project different to my previous Interstate and U.S Highway paps? You’ll see… think bigger.
Just a reminder - today is the absolute last day to order my Interstates as Subway Map or U.S. Routes as Subway Map posters. I’ll fulfill any orders made up until midnight U.S. Pacific time tonight, and then that’s it… at least for the foreseeable future. Click on the title above to go to the order page, or just click here.
Interstates as Subway Map and U.S. Routes as Subway Map Posters - Almost Sold Out!
By now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with my Interstates as Subway Map (Project Page | Flickr) and U.S. Routes as Subway Map (Project Page | Flickr) posters. Sales since December - when I first launched the U.S. Routes map - have been exceptional, but things have now slowed down to a point where I’m considering suspending sales for a while.
As it currently stands, I have one single Interstate poster left for sale, and just three U.S. Routes posters. If there’s some immediate interest in more posters, then I’ll fulfill those orders as well. But time is definitely limited! So, if you’ve been thinking about getting one of these posters and haven’t acted - then now is the time. If you know someone who’d like one of these posters, then send them the link. Spread the word!
Click on the image above to go to the order page, or click here.
Time Lapse Video: the Creation of a Transit Map
As promised, here’s the time lapse video I made while creating my International E-Road Network diagram (E-Roads are the rough European equivalent to America’s Interstate highways, although not all European countries signpost them, or even acknowledge their existence. It’s complicated!).
Each frame of this video is a screenshot from Adobe Illustrator at the same zoom setting, taken roughly 30 minutes of working time apart. For me, the interesting thing is how organic the process looks when viewed like this… I’d get stuck on one part, so I’d move from one country to another for a while. My brain would subconsciously process the problems I’d been having, and I’d always find that previous section easier to work on when I returned to it.
U.S. Routes as Subway Map
The latest in my series of transit map-style diagrams - this time, of the U.S. Highway system. That’s U.S. Routes (like Route 66), not to be confused with the newer Interstate Highway system (I-5, I-20, etc.). Without a doubt, this is the most complex map of this type I have attempted - it’s needed three separate attempts over the course of more than a year to work this one out!
As always, comments, suggestions and corrections are gratefully accepted. Read the full story about the project on my design blog here. Or head on over to Flickr, where you can view a nice big 4000px wide version of the map.
Posters will almost certainly be forthcoming after the customary round of corrections and edits. Let me know if you are interested!
36x24” posters now available for purchase here.